Back to Main Site

 Snow Scene Watercolour Pencils


Throughout this series of articles we have used quite a few different techniques and covered quite a lot of seasons, but notice how few colours weíve used. We visited various parts of the countryside from bleak moorland scenes, the Lake District to bright autumnal scenes and the beauty of pastel Suffolk, but always still using the same colours. This just shows the versatility of watercolour pencils and you know that you truly can, armed with a tin of pencils, a couple of brushes and a pot of water, capture everything you need to create lovely little vineyards or indeed finished works with the minimum of fuss and effort. So there is never an excuse for that old, too time consuming or, too scary attitude. Get out there and give it a go.

We've covered everything else so it's time for a snow scene.

Essential Supplies

The items you will need to complete this scene are as follows:-

Watercolour Paint
Watercolour Pencil x24

3/4" Wash brush
No.8 Round



For my outline drawing, which there isnít a lot of, I am going to use blue-grey instead of my usual cool grey, itís a very simple outline marking my distance line with a clump of trees middle distance, my clump of trees over to the right for the far distance.

For the sky I want a fairly cool sky so I am going to start off with my coeruleum blue taking the blue off the pencil with my ĺ" wash brush, whilst this is still wet drop in a little bit of raw sienna onto the bottom half and then a few touches of blue-grey good and sharp to give the effect of a few harder clouds.



Very importantly let it dry before you go any further.

Now for the far distance a little bit of indigo again taking the paint off the pencil with my wet No.8 round brush and simply stipple on with the point of the brush creating the effect of the distant trees. Slightly more complex in the middle distance, going to my blue-grey I am going to draw the outline of a few tree trunks which are simply a few sticks.





Also a few tiny touches of light red here and there, but not too many just a few touches to warm up ever so slightly. Back to my indigo I'm just taking a bit of paint off the pencil with my No.8 round, and use the side of the brush simply daub on creating the effect of the canopy of the trees. Again with the side of the brush stroke up from the base of the trees, merging the colours to give it a rough base.

Now whilst this is still wet I am going to go back in with my pencil, the blue-grey, and have a few sharper lines here and there just to pull out a few boughs. Donít go mad with these, you donít need too many. Incidentally, another effect of going in with a dry pencil onto an already wet piece of paper, is that the line is then immovable no matter how much water you put on, that line is going to stay.

This needs to dry thoroughly before I go back to my pencil to draw that chunky foreground detail.




Now time for the main trees and itís a very quick outline using the blue-grey as before colouring in with mars black with a touch of raw sienna to the left-hand side of the trees, just to lighten ever so slightly. As you may have gathered by that, the light is going to be coming from the left. At this point when using the black it's an ideal opportunity to create a few extra twigs, but donít go mad with loads of twigs, just a few.

It's always useful in a snow scene especially to exaggerate the darkness of your trees, very effective on landscape, and you will see before I wet these just how dark those colours really are.



Now with the tip of my No.8 round brush stipple on, rather than stroking on, so that some of the parts of the trees remain dry giving you a few hard edges here and there.
Now for the canopy of the trees, again indigo, and with my ĺ" wash brush take a little paint off the pencil, tap on ensuring that the full length of the hair is on the paper. So for that, make sure that the metal of the brush is slapping on the paper.



Once done, whilst it's still wet, go in with a bit of mars black and add a few more sharp pencil lines into the wet paper.

Now time to move forward into the snow. I am going in with a little bit of indigo still stroking paint off the brush and still using my ĺ" wash brush, YES itís a snow scene but that doesnít mean you need masses of white paper left. A few shafts of darker shading or snow will make all the more of the white you leave.  



And there is the first few washes of snow using dark rather than white. Now a few touches of raw sienna and a few strokes of light red just for a few bits of rough sticking up from the snow here and there. Also a few touches of blue-grey.

Just a few squiggly bits here and there which we will be wetting down any minute now. This also adds a little bit of difference in colour and warms up areas here and there.

Now again back to the indigo and my ĺ" wash brush, this time good and strong for some nice hard shadows cast by the trees. Remembering to put the shadow on the opposite side to the light side of the trees. At the same time daubing on with my wash brush into those bits of rough stuff sticking up from the snow.

Finally, a few hard bits here and there. Using my mars black for a few bits of swiggly twigs coming out from the foreground from the base of the trees, press on hard remember just like any pencil the harder you press on the stronger the mark, I really cannot emphasise that enough.




A few ticks in the sky will add a little bit of light. Thatís the last in this series, so for the time being, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.